You want to do your best as a parent to ensure you have a healthy and happy child. But at a certain point, there is only so much you can do to provide a stable and safe environment for them to grow up in, and as they get older, a lot of their self-confidence needs to come from within so that when they transition into their teen years and adulthood, they are not dependent on others for feelings of validation and other positive emotions. So, how to nurture a positive sense of self in your child?
It might feel like a daunting and complicated task, but in reality, it involves promoting healthy behaviours and encouraging independence without neglecting the emotional needs of your child.
Encourage Good Manners
This is fundamental for producing a well-rounded set of social skills and the ability to create good first impressions. Teaching your child manners allows them to perform well in socially pressured situations and makes them a self-assured and more confident individual. Teaching them phrases like “Please” and “Thank you” and well as greeting people politely and leading conversations will give them large measures of confidence in interacting with both their peers and authority figures. Table manners and good sportsmanship are also brilliant values to instil, and making sure they can both win and lose gracefully will form good character and a positive reputation in others.
Set Yourself as an Example
There is no one that your child looks up to more than their parents. You have been their source for watching social interactions for their entire lives, and how you conduct yourself in daily interactions will affect their perception of healthy relationship dynamics. Express compassion, politeness and respect for all others and your child will naturally develop similar character traits. Don’t be afraid to show how to stand up for yourself without coming across as aggressive or rude.
Encourage Good Dental Hygiene
This is a fundamental aspect of proper hygiene that will stand them well in their future. Cultivating good habits now in their childhood will mean they will be in a much better position as an adult in regards to their dental health. Teeth are one of the most precious parts of our body to maintain, and if they do not engage themselves with healthy habits, they will weaken their enamel and allow cavities to form in their teeth.
Taking your children to the dentist is one way to instil good behaviours surrounding these habits. Although many children find dentists visits scary or boring, choosing a friendly practice to visit can make a world of difference (In Manchester? Check out Kissdental - they are a practice which holds these values). A welcoming atmosphere balanced with professionalism and high quality of customer care allows them to conduct a variety of services. Having your child in a space like this allows them to form positive emotions with the memories and visits associated with their dental health.
Instil Healthy Eating Habits
This is another key aspect that will translate into their later years. Involve your children in the cooking process, teach them the nutritional values of vegetables and educate them on how and why they will impact your health. This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to encourage in children, who are not inclined to make healthy choices for themselves in a modern age of convenience food and a massive market of sugary confections and drinks, along with colourful and exciting advertisements.
It is so important, therefore, to create discipline around eating habits and rules for the dinner table (some classic examples include no dessert before veg, no phones at the table, and so on…) but also make sure you are aware of your child’s needs. They may need different portion sizes to what you think, and their taste buds are still developing, so while it is good to introduce them to new types foods, don’t invalidate their strong opinions around food – as this may make them feel forced into healthy choices and resent them in the future.
Encourage Leisure Activities That Don’t Involve a Screen
We’re not saying to ban devices altogether, as technology is a great resource for education and fun which will more than likely be a big part of your child’s adulthood, both socially and professionally. But giving them a range of activities, like drawing, sports and reading are brilliant alternate modes of spending quality time that are both engaging and rewarding. These help them form a diverse range of skills and develop different areas of their brain. Having physical and creative outlets helps them form a better sense of self and allows them to reach their full potential in every aspect of their life growing up.
These are great pieces of advice to ensure your child is a well-rounded, happy and healthy individual. Mental and physical wellbeing go hand in hand, and caring for both as a parent sets your child up for the same standard of living as an adult.
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